April 30, 2021
A Recovery For All of Us: Mayor de Blasio Announces new Programs to Support New Yorkers Experiencing Serious Mental Illness

Mayor de Blasio on Wednesday announced a new, comprehensive effort to support New Yorkers experiencing serious mental illness. Through a range of new investments, the City will build on its existing resources to create a new, flexible model for mental health care to reach more New Yorkers and help them stay connected to care.

“As we rebuild from the pandemic and drive a recovery for all of us, our mission to bring mental health care to every New Yorker has never been more urgent,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “For those who are dealing with the profound challenge of serious mental illness – you're not alone. Your city sees you, and we are here to help.” Read more here.
Who Responds Best to Mental Health Emergencies?

Mobile crisis teams and peer support services can help to serve those struggling with a mental health crisis and connect them to care, but can they replace police?

As calls for defunding the police increase, the question has become even more timely and was front and center at a hearing on Thursday of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism for the Senate Judiciary Committee, which focused on policing and behavioral health.

Among both the subcommittee members and the other witnesses, there appeared to be broad support for improving police training in deescalation tactics and for engaging mobile crisis teams and other types of support. Some witnesses, however, questioned the ability of mobile teams to safely address and quickly respond to high-risk situations. Read more here.

Pathways to Diversion Case Studies Series: Law Enforcement and First Responder Diversion

Law enforcement officers and other first responders, such as emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and paramedics, are on the front lines of the illicit substance abuse epidemic, frequently responding to drug overdoses and calls for services involving individuals with substance use and co-occurring disorders. In response, a variety of law enforcement-led diversion and fire/emergency medical services (EMS)-led responses have emerged across the country. In partnership with substance use disorder (SUD) treatment providers, peers, and recovery personnel,
these multidisciplinary programs are helping to reduce
overdoses by connecting individuals to community-based treatment. Law enforcement and first-responder diversion program models represent a pivotal opportunity to redirect individuals with SUDs, mental health disorders (MHDs), and co-occurring disorders away from jails or emergency departments and toward community-based treatment for substance use, mental health services, recovery support, housing, and social services. Read more here.

April 29, 3 - 4:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

April 30, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA

May 4, 3 - 4 pm, Mother Cabrini Health Foundation

May 6, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

May 7, 1 - 2:30 pm, CSH

May 7, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, The Council of State Governments Justice Center

May 10, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, CMS

May 11, 2:30 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

May 11, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

May 12, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

May 13, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

May 13, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 13, 2 - 3:30 pm, NASMHPD

May 13, 2 - 3:30 pm, The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and the MacArthur Foundation

May 17, 12:30 - 2 pm, CHCS

May 17, 3 - 4 pm, CMS

May 17, 3:30 - 5 pm, NASMHPD

May 18, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 19, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

May 19, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

May 19, 4 - 5 pm, NAMI-NY

May 20, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 26, 10 - 11 am, OMH

May 26, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 26, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

May 27, 2 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center


Executive Committee Meeting
May 5: 8 - 9 am

LGU Billing Staff Call
May 6: 2 - 3 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call
May 11: 10 - 11:30 am

CLMHD Spring Full Membership Business Meeting
May 11: 2 - 5 pm

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
May 13: 11 am - 12 pm

Children & Families Committee Meeting
May 18: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Webinar: 911 Diversion: Blueprint for Supporting Individuals in Mental Health Crisis
May 20: 10 - 11:30 am

Webinar: CLMHD Criminal Justice Interactive Data Matching Tool
May 27, 1 - 2:30 pm

CLMHD Offices Closed - Memorial Day
May 31
HHS Releases New Buprenorphine Practice Guidelines, Expanding Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

In an effort to get evidenced-based treatment to more Americans with opioid use disorder, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is releasing new buprenorphine practice guidelines that among other things, remove a longtime requirement tied to training, which some practitioners have cited as a barrier to treating more people.

Signed by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, the Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder exempt eligible physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives from federal certification requirements related to training, counseling and other ancillary services that are part of the process for obtaining a waiver to treat up to 30 patients with buprenorphine. Read more here.

HANYS’ New White Paper Sounds Alarm on Discharge Delays Affecting Patients with Complex Care Needs

The Healthcare Association of New York State on Tuesday released a new white paper, The Complex Case Discharge Delay Problem.

Complex case discharge delays, also known as bed blocking or bed delays, are a longstanding and growing challenge throughout New York, the United States and the world. These delays happen for many reasons but are most commonly attributed to difficulty finding safe post-discharge care and navigating lengthy administrative or legal processes. Individuals experiencing behavioral health, intellectual or developmental disabilities and/or co-occurring conditions are most profoundly impacted.

A lack of coordinated care options has created an environment where hundreds of New Yorkers with complex care needs unnecessarily languish in emergency departments and hospital beds annually, often for months to years. Hospitals are serving as long-term housing rather than a way station for those who, once their acute care needs are met, are better served in a non-hospital setting. Read more here.
Lawmakers Want Parity for Mental and Physical Health in New York

State lawmakers want mental health placed on equal footing with physical health in New York — and are seeking a constitutional amendment to do so.

Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Sen John Mannion and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett last Wednesday proposed a constitutional amendment that would seek to raise the profile of mental health needs in New York.

While a minor change of a handful of words, the amendment has the potential to boost mental health care services and programs in the state. Language for mental health care in New York has not been updated to the constitution in more than 80 years. Read more here.
Senator Samra Brouk Introduces Bill Establishing a Three-Digit National Mental Health Crisis Line

This month, Senator Samra Brouk (SD-55) introduced New York State Senate Bill S6194, which would establish the three-digit, 9-8-8 national suicide prevention hotline number that individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, or their loved ones, could call or text to be connected to trained mental health counselors. The shortened, three-digit number will be easier to remember and allow more people to get help when it is needed.

The counselors staffing the 9-8-8 crisis hotline centers will be trained to respond to mental health emergencies and could coordinate with 9-8-8 operators to deploy mobile crisis teams to individuals in need. These support teams are staffed by mental health professionals, peers, and family advocates instead of police officers, whose response to mental health crises in the 55th District and across the country has resulted in unnecessary violence and death. Read more here.
Texting Option Weighed for Upcoming ‘988’ Suicide Hotline

Recognizing that many Americans rely on texting, US regulators are weighing whether to require that phone companies allow people to text a suicide hotline.

The Federal Communications Commission last summer voted to require a new “988” number for people to call to reach a suicide-prevention hotline. Phone companies have until July 2022 to implement it.

Once it’s in place, people will be able to dial 988 to seek help, similar to how 911 is used for emergencies. Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255), which routes calls to about 170 crisis centers. Read more here.

New Report: Improving Access to Behavioral Health Crisis Services with Electronic Bed Registries

As states struggle to find available appropriate crisis services including inpatient and crisis beds to treat behavioral health disorders, more and more of them are establishing a web-accessible, electronic database of beds, “bed registry” to organize and monitor critical behavioral health resources, direct individuals in crisis to available treatment settings, and improve communication among providers. NASMPHD administered Transformation Transfer Initiative (TTI) grants, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to 23 states in 2019 to help them launch or expand bed registries. Through successive surveys and individual interviews with state officials, NRI tracked the implementation of bed registries to create individual fact sheets that describe key characteristics of each of the 23 state’s bed registries. These 23 fact sheets and summary report, Improving Access to Behavioral Health Crisis Services with Electronic Bed Registries, can serve as blueprints or guides to states and localities to design and implement bed registry platforms critical to coordinating crisis care. A webinar was held on to April 13 explore this new technology and how states are using it to improve crisis care.
Overdose Deaths Surged In Pandemic, As More Drugs Were Laced With Fentanyl

Researchers gathered for a conference on addiction this week received a grim update on the growing spread of street drugs laced with deadly synthetic opioids including fentanyl.

The trend contributed to a stark rise in overdoses that left more than 90,000 Americans dead during the 12-month period ending in September 2020, according to the latest data.

"We've seen a very significant rise in mortality," said Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, who spoke Thursday as part of an on-line gathering of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Volkow said people are often consuming fentanyl "unbeknownst to them," resulting in a spike in overdose deaths. Read more here.
House Lawmakers Want Medicare to Fund Mental Health Peer Support Services

Two House lawmakers reintroduced a bill last Thursday that would allow Medicare to fund mental and behavioral health services from trained specialists with similar challenges to their patients.

The Promoting Effective and Empowering Recovery in Medicare Act of 2021, introduced by Reps. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Judy Chu (D-Calif.), would clarify that CMS can reimburse peer support specialists for services rendered in mental and physical health settings. Currently, Medicare and private health insurers are not able to reimburse these services, leading to a lack of funding and dwindling number of available jobs for specialists. Read more here.
Peers Speak Out: Priority Outcomes for Substance Use Treatment and Services

In this first national examination of treatment and recovery services outcomes prioritized by people with substance use disorders, nearly 900 people from across the country shared what matters most to them:

  • Staying alive 
  • Improving quality of life 
  • Reducing harmful substance use 
  • Improving mental health 
  • Addressing basic needs 
  • Increasing self-confidence 
  • Increasing connection to ongoing services  

Community Catalyst led the research, partnering with Faces & Voices of Recovery and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and guided by a National Peer Council of people with lived experience of substance use disorders.

Identifying what individuals want from treatment lays the groundwork for more effectively and equitably addressing the national epidemic of substance use disorders. The report details the research and findings, and recommends action steps for service providers, policymakers and researchers.

Aetna Behavioral President Says Holistic, Collaborative Care Key to Company’s Future

The new behavioral health pilot from CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) focused on collaborative care is indicative of where the pharmacy giant is headed in the future, according to Cara McNulty, president of behavioral health and the Employee Assistance Program at Aetna.

“You’ll continue to see us advancing our mental health efforts, right alongside with our physical health efforts, and you’ll see them hand-in-hand,” McNulty recently told Behavioral Health Business. “You’ll see us continue to work on collaborative care [and] interesting, … unique partnerships because our goal is to take the confusion out of the system and to meet people where they’re at in those moments that matter across their journey to better health.” Read more here.

The Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors advances public policies and awareness for people with mental illness, chemical dependency and developmental disabilities. We are a statewide membership organization that consists of the Commissioner/ Director of each of the state's 57 county mental hygiene departments and the mental hygiene department of the City of New York.

Affiliated with the NYS Association of Counties (NYSAC)